General Daniel Nichols 2013 Nrl Season Preview

League Freak

League Freak

I wouldn't normally start a post about an article on my site but guest writer Daniel Nichols has written a fantastic NRL season preview that includes questions to fans about how they see their teams chances shaping up this season.

Take a look: https://www.leaguefreak.com/daniel-nichols-2013-national-rugby-league-season-preview-3786/

Here is his Warriors Preview and interview with a Warriors fan:
New Zealand Warriors

PREDICTION: 12th
How can a side that contested the grand final in 2011 finish 3rd from bottom in the very next year? That is the question Warrior’s fans have been asking themselves. The once all conquering forward pack was bashed from pillar to post, the exciting outside backs became turnstiles in defense and the coach was shown the door before season’s end. Come to late rounds it looked as though the Warriors had given up.
Former Panthers coach Matthew Elliott has been given the challenge of rebuilding the club. His appointment was met with a mixed reaction from fans and players alike but he, at least publicly, has the support of his playing staff.
A small but successful recruitment drive was undertaken with QLD centre Dane Neilson, Storm premiership winning Todd Lowrie and the very experienced Thomas Leuluai joining the club. In Neilson the Warriors have an absolute weapon on the edges. He and Hurrell form a fearsome centre combo. Veteran Manu Vatuvei will be looking to atone for his disappointing 2012 and could be in for a damaging season if his venture into the boxing ring during the off season is any indication.
Halfback Shaun Johnson was a poster boy for second year syndrome in 2012 after his superb debut year. He and Leuluai will likely form the halves combo, one which will do so with high expectations. Mateo will play almost as a second 5/8 with his energetic running and clever offloads.
The 2013 Warriors side is almost bursting at the seams with talent, with the incredible NYC sides of recent years coming through, and a list of solid recruits joining the club, but this Warriors side will have to rediscover the heart and determination that took them so close to their maiden title in 2011.
James Maloney aside, the Warriors haven’t lost much in terms of regular NRL starters and have strengthened quite significantly. There really is no reason they shouldn't improve on 2012’s results. If they aren’t able to produce the form of 2011, at least the press conferences should be fun.
2012 was a huge year for the Warriors for all the wrong reasons. I spoke with fans @thebenzed and @WellsNorthShore to get their thoughts on Matt Elliott, the moving of big games to Eden Park and more:
Is Matt Elliot the man to rebuild the Warriors after a disastrous 2012?
Wells: You could say this about most if not all teams in the NRL, but at the Warriors, talent clearly isn't the issue. Many picked the Warriors to be amongst the elite of the competition in 2012, so what went wrong? we've heard plenty of reasons bandied about, but a lack of talent is never one of them. So can Elliot be the one to craft this talent into the force they have the potential to be? I really believe this is a difficult question to answer as an outsider. This group doesn't need some sort of Rugby League genius to guide them to a championship, they need a coach who has the respect of the team and can utilize the immense talent he has at his disposal. If everyone is on the same page, then the team should be successful, we haven't heard of any behind the scenes rifts, but then we aren't likely to.
Benzed: Like many Warriors fans, Im uncertain about Elliot. I think many fans wanted a big name coach to be signed, and Im not sure Elliot has the pedigree to generate consistency in a young Warriors side. I want to see a mix of flare and composure that has taken the team to two grand finals.
How do you feel about the moving of the team's first home game to Eden Park from Mount Smart stadium?
Wells: As much as Mount Smart may be considered the "home" of the Warriors, moving to Eden Park is clearly a good business decision, the Warriors at Eden Park for now still remains a novelty that attracts peoples interest. There's an argument that the Warriors belong where they are because that's where most of the Warriors fans are, but for me this raises a bit of a chicken or the egg situation, should the Warriors be out there because there are more League fans, or are there more League fans out there because of the Warriors? for me, I live nowhere near South Auckland and it's a bit of a hike to get out there and many others are in the same boat because Auckland is so scattered out. Eden Park is a much more impressive stadium, from a spectator standpoint it's far superior, for many Aucklander's, aside from those in South Auckland, it's easier to get to. If it brings in more money for the club to do the opener at Eden Park, if it brings more people to the game who wouldn't normally attend and it makes it easier for me to get to the game, then I'm all for it.
Benzed: Moving games to Eden Park is a good idea to promote the game within Auckland. Traditionally, league is played mostly in South Auckland - with union dominating elsewhere in the city. Increased accessibility to games can only help the Warriors profile and fan base, and this is certainly the case at Eden Park. Eden Park is a far more modern facility too, so I am definitely in favour of it.
Does Sonny Bill hold that much star power to necessitate a move to a larger stadium
Wells: I don't think Sonny Bill alone has that much star power, but Sonny Bill as part of a returning NRL season? that may necessitate a larger stadium. The NRL doesn't need Sonny Bill, the competition is loaded with stars, Thurston, Inglis, Barba, Slater, Cronk, Hayne, Benji the list goes on and on. I'm excited for Sonny Bill's return, I think the NRL is better for his return, but he's just one of a plethora of names in a competition oozing with talent. Initially SBW's return will no doubt generate a lot of curiosity, but once that curiosity is satisfied, SBW will just become another of the many talents the competition has to offer. The NRL is a big enough competition that it doesn't need to latch on to SBW's exploits in Rugby and Boxing, when it comes to Rugby League is SBW a bigger star than Inglis or Thurston? I don't think so.
Benzed: SBW certainly is popular in NZ, and even those who dislike him are still interested. I would maintain the move to Eden Park is more about building more interest in central/northern suburbs. The Auckland Council has made it known that the future of Mt Smart Stadium is in doubt, so whilst SBW may increase attendance, its more a prelude for a likely venue shift down the road
Can Shaun Johnson rediscover his 2011 form? Who will partner him in the halves with Maloney moving to Bondi?
Wells: What I feel is often overlooked with Johnson is last year was his first full season in the NRL. Of course he came in during the 2011 season, but he didn't actually debut until round 13, and of course they ended up making it to the final. 2012 was a more true taste of NRL reality for Johnson, enduring that 26 round schedule and not having a rosy season results wise, this will hopefully be a valuable lesson for him in his young career. A lot went wrong with the Warriors in 2012, and we can speculate about what happened behind the scenes and what players weren't committed to the coaching and whether the coaching was bad until we go round and round in circles. Johnson clearly has the talent to be one of if not the best player in the competition, but he'll need a platform to work from as well. For the most part I'm just writing off the entire 2012 season, it was a gigantic mess, come into 2013 with a clean slate and hopefully his talent will shine through again. I thought it was likely that Leuluai would partner Johnson in the halves, but the injury to Friend may change that. I'm still inclined to put Leuluai in with him, Tuimamave and Siejka both are young blokes with a lot of talent, but Johnson is still a young bloke himself. Leuluai in theory should be the perfect compliment to Johnson, the young, enigmatic superstar paired up with the more experienced, settled presence of Leuluai. Johnson puts on the show, while Leuluai does the hard work that so often goes unrecognized.
Benzed: Shaun Johnson is an exceptional talent, and theres no reason to expect he wont blossom in 2013. I expect Pita Godinet to partner him in the halves. He seems a solid player, but there will be more pressure on Shaun to deliver strong performances weekly. Maloney will be missed but the Warriors depth in the halves seems to be in exciting hands.
Who is the club's most exciting young player?
Wells: The Warriors have been fortunate over the years to have a Kings ransom of young talent, which has lead to their great Under 20s success, however I don't think there's any debate that the crown jewel is Johnson. Hurrell made an emphatic entry into the NRL in his rookie year, people who follow the Juniors saw this guy just run straight over defenders like a tank but wondered if that could translate into the NRL. That question was answered fairly quickly as his destructive runs saw him immediately turn into one of the most prolific try scorers in the competition, but Johnson is on another level. The comparisons to Benji Marshall are more than worthy, he has all the talent to be the next Benji, if not better. The try on the Broncos in 2011 still stands out as one of the most outstanding tries in recent times, that's the type of excitement we are talking about here. Will Johnson ever become the best player in the NRL? that's a lofty goal, but there's no denying that he's one of the very elite few who have the potential to be that guy.
Benzed: Several obvious names are Shaun Johnson and Konrad Hurrell. However I think Glenn Fisiiahi could have a great season. Hes got electric speed and a real nose for the try line. 12 tries for the Fish! The club is in the hands of Shaun Johnson though, hes already one of the best in the game.
Is there a player you'd happily pay cab fare to ship to another club?
Wells: Like most fan bases, Warriors fans certainly have their whipping boys, if you move the guy out that everyone is lumping the blame on, then someone else will become the target. Last year Tupou seemed to be the one Warriors fans were wanting to see get the flick. For me, I can't think of
anyone who I would actively want to see gone from the club entirely, but I do want to see the club take a hard stance on guys who aren't performing, if you aren't getting it done in top grade, we should have more than enough depth to have someone come in and take your place.
Benzed: No player I am dying for the Warriors to be rid of. I do feel the club overpays outside backs, of which we have great depth. I think bolstering the forward pack will be important to more constant success.
What's your prediction for side this season? What's a pass mark for the club?
Wells: The joke amongst Warriors fans for a long time has been that when you expect them to do well, they do poorly, when you expect them to do poorly, they do well. For a long time they were the type of team who'd lose to the bottom of the table, then turn around the next week and knock off the top team in the comp. It seems a lot of people are writing them off this year, so applying this warped logic, they should do pretty well. The NRL as a whole is so talented, every team on paper looks like they could make the top eight, injuries can ruin everything so quickly. Most worrying for me is that at present our half situation consists of a young Johnson who left a lot to be desired last year, and a question mark. Our starting hooker is already out for a while, as is one of our top props, but other teams have their problems also. I could see the team finishing anywhere between 6 and 10, and I'll make a committed prediction by placing them at 8 and I think that will be a pass. The fans are over the inconsistency, they thought the 2011 final was a sign of a change in times, of a Warriors team that was ready to be a consistent competitor for a title and the 2012 season let them down. Anything less than a playoff spot is going to be a disappointment, even with the question marks, even with a new coach.If Warriors fans are accustomed to inconsistency, they are also accustomed to knowing that the Warriors can NEVER be counted out, so if they can squeak into the playoffs, even in the 8th spot, then Warriors fans will be feeling good about the teams chances in the playoffs.
Benzed: A pass season for me would be seeded between 5-8 in playoffs. There are too many good players and game changers to miss the post season again, but the young side requires more experience to knock off the likes of Canterbury, Souths, Melbourne and Brisbane. As long as we improve, I would envision a good chance at a title in the next 5 years.
 
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Sup42

Sup42

Good read thanks league freak.

I think 12th or worse is to be expected if the same attitude of 2012 ( terrible disharmony in the dressing room and a failure by the senior players to play for the Jersey.....there was basically a Mutiny from most un official accounts )

On the Face of it the Warriors have only picked up a couple or three useful signings as noted in the article.....so great expectations should be tempered.

However in the last few trials some desperately needed finds from within our own NSW cup and under 20's ranks are going to throw a few surprises.....some good players who have languished in limbo and failed to find the bit extra are now putting their hands up......that's a measurable impact by the new regime.

Elliot as a new broom has managed to give the appearance of a fresh start bout the place , in his own words he's not interested in what happened last year...the players are buying into it.

Warriors rising is what I'm sensing....even if Elliot is not the best coach in the NRL ' the new coach syndrome ' is already in evidence here and the Warriors will rock the comp....with a bit of luck on the Injury front I'm picking the Warriors will be mentally there at the end of eighty minute contests and very hard to stop.
 
League Freak

League Freak

The problem I see there is....Elliott shuts down junior development when he moves to a club. He would rather buy old players than blood juniors, even when the finals are well out of reach.
 
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Gizzyfan

Gizzyfan

The problem I see there is....Elliott shuts down junior development when he moves to a club. He would rather buy old players than blood juniors, even when the finals are well out of reach.


Probably after last year easing away from selecting U20's to FG is a positive. Better IMO selecting through the Vulcans.
 
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